Property developer jailed for $1m fraud

A property developer has been jailed after fraudulently using clients’ money to pay a home deposit and mortgage repayments.

Carlo Cini, who was a former director of Melbourne firm C. Cini & Company, was sentenced to five years and three months in jail, according to the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC).

“ASIC's investigation found he raised more than $1 million from seven investors based on representations that the money would be used for property development being undertaken by the company,” the regulator said.

“Further, ASIC's investigation found that a majority of the funds were subsequently used for other purposes, including to meet payments on multiple vehicle leases, a deposit to purchase a family home, family-related mortgage repayments and payments to other investors.”

ASIC said Mr Cini had also obtained a financial advantage for the company by evading debts due to the investors.

“This related to the issuing of valueless cheques to the investors worth more than $700,000,” according to ASIC.

“A further charge related to an investor agreeing to enter into a loan agreement on the basis of reckless statements made by Mr Cini, which helped Mr Cini avoid a debt payable to the investor of $420,000.”

ASIC said that when the offences occurred in 2007 and 2008, Mr Cini was facing “significant financial difficulties” and was in no position to meeting investor repayments.

Commissioner Greg Tanzer said ASIC would punish people who violate regulations, with jail time a realistic possibility.

Mr Cini pleaded guilty in March.

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